Aug 28, 2013 Downtown Express

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Aug 28, 2013 Downtown Express

Transcript of Aug 28, 2013 Downtown Express



    BY SAM SPOKONYFor two people so ideologically simi-

    lar in their fundamental concerns, the Democratic candidates for the District 3 City Council seat have proven increasingly adept at getting under one anothers skin.

    Corey Johnson, the current and twice-elected chair of Community Board 4, and Yetta Kurland, a civil rights attor-ney and activist, each traded verbal jabs and concrete proposals during their debate on August 26, at the Chelsea Bow Tie Cinemas on West 23rd Street. The event, which was sponsored by NYC Community Media (the publisher of Chelsea Now), marked one of the last, if not the fi nal, face-to-face showdowns between the two candidates before the primary election on September 10.

    The result of the primary will effec-tively decide the winner of the District

    3 seat, which has been held for the past 14 years by Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and which spans from 55th Street to Canal Street and from Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River.

    But beyond that sense of urgency, the explosive atmosphere of the last debate which featured an audience of extremely vocal supporters on both sides (but particularly Johnsons) was fueled primarily by pointed and, at times, per-sonal attacks that have become a constant element in this tense race.

    ST. VINCENTS SITEBoth Johnson and Kurland led by

    declaring that their fi rst priority, if elect-ed, would be to work towards restoring a full-service hospital to the district, since so many Lower West Side residents feel that their healthcare needs have been

    neglected following the closing of St. Vincents Hospital.

    Kurland has long made the hospi-tal issue a centerpiece of her campaign by touting her strong leadership in the fi ght against St. Vincents demise, while also reminding voters that she with the support of a community coalition later succeeded in forcing the states Department of Health to recognize an obligation to restore a hospital at that site.

    The Rudin Management Company the developer who is building a massive luxury housing project on the former St. Vincents site has thus been compelled to work with a Long Island hospital to build a $139 million, two-and-a-half bed emergency medical facility across the street from the new housing.

    Continued on page 5

    BY SCOTT STIFFLERWeve followed them on

    the campaign trail. Weve read their website bios and their policy papers. Weve watched the debates, hosted a few of our own and wel-comed them to our round table for lengthy roundtable discussions.

    Under the stew-ardship of publisher Jennifer Goodstein, NYC Community Media com-prised of Chelsea Now, The Villager, The East Villager, Downtown Express and Gay City News has been meet-

    ing with candidates for city council, borough president and mayor, in anticipation of choosing our endorse-ments (see pages 8 and 9 of this issue). Each editor asked questions of particu-lar interest to their reader-ship which, for Chelsea Now, meant exploring pos-sible reforms to the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) process.

    When a developers ULURP application is approved by the City

    Continued on page 4

    Candidates Talk ULURP Reform



    PAGE 14

    As Primary Looms, Corey and Yetta Spar

    BY EILEEN STUKANE The 158 units of affordable housing being developed by Artimus Construction on a Fulton Houses parking lot and trash compactor loca-tion (on the north side of West 18th Street near 10th Avenue) continues to draw strong commu-nity interest. On August 19, a crowd of nearly 100 people gathered at the Fulton Center Auditorium

    (119 Ninth Avenue) for the Community Board 4 (CB4) Land Use Committee meeting where a vote on zoning and building modifica-tions was on the agenda, as well as presentation and discussion of the buildings proposed ame-nities, including those relating to parking. The Fulton project received a Uniform Land

    Continued on page 3

    Clock Ticking on New Housing at Fulton

    Photo by Cheryl Williamson

    Yetta Kurland and Corey Johnson, the two Democratic candidates for the City Council's District 3 seat, faced off at a debate sponsored by NYC Community Media on Aug. 26 (on the right, Gay City News editor Paul Schindler who moderated the debate, along with Villager editor Lincoln Anderson).

  • 2 August 28 - September 11, 2013

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    Those Bronx-based boys of summer have had their share of drama this season on and off the field. But year in and year out, some of best action happens behind the scenes, as the players on a team-within-a-team experience the rivalries and partnerships that come with being one of the Yankee Wives.

    This Group Theatre Too production has novelist, screenwriter and playwright David Rimmer (a Pulitzer finalist for 1980s Album) directing a revised version of his sexy and irreverent 1982 play. Inspired to pen a fictional account of Yankee wives after watching the real Bronx Bombers on TV in the 1970s, Rimmer recalls how he realized they were an alternate

    family. They spend more time with each other than with anybody else because no one else is there for them. Its a cloistered society no one else knows what its like. Audiences seem to disagree with that last assessment: Over the years, Rimmers been told by more than one real-life baseball wife that the plays fly-on-the-wall observations are right on target.

    Aug. 29-Sept. 15. Thurs.-Sat. at 8pm, Sun. at 2pm (except Aug. 29 at 7pm & Sept. 12 at 6:30pm). At The Hudson Guild Theater (441 W. 26th St., btw. 9th & 10th Aves.). For tick-ets ($18, $15 for students/seniors), call 212-868-4444 or visit Also visit

    'Wives' Eavesdrops on Bronx Bombers' Better Halves

    Photo by Jonathan Slaff

    L-R: Eliza Simpson, McKenna Fox, Jennifer Laine Williams, Cristina Marie, Chudney Sykes and Samanthan Strelitz are the Yankee Wives.

  • August 28 - September 11, 2013 3

    Use Review Procedure (ULURP) certifi-cation on July 8 from the Department of City Planning (DCP). Once the ULURP certification was obtained by the proj-ect managers, the clock that allows the community to weigh in on the project began ticking. CB4 had 60 days from July 8 to hold public hearings and make any recommendations for changes to the City Planning Commission (CPC). That would make September 6 the dead-line for CB4 to make its wishes on the project known to the CPC hence, this unexpected August meeting at the height of summer vacation time. (After CB4 weighs in, the borough president has 30 days to respond, and the CPC, 60 days after that at which point it goes before the City Council, whose final vote is subject only to a rarely invoked mayoral override. Lee Compton, co-chair of CB4s Land Use Committee, moderated the meeting from a dais that included 10 members of the committee, as well as Joe Restuccia, co-chair of CB4s Housing Committee. At a July 10 meeting, the possible dis-placing two of Fulton Housings play-grounds for parking lots greatly con-cerned the community, and Artimus Construction offered a poor presenta-

    tion of the project (with barely visible poster boards propped on an easel, and no paper handouts). At this meet-ing, Evan Kashanian of Artimus was prepared with a full-screen power point presentation accompanied by handouts with the proposed zoning changes and drawings of the project clearly identi-fied. At issue: a zoning map amend-ment, which would change the project district from an R8 to an R8A, allowing for a higher building. Also at issue: zon-ing waivers that would allow changes in the proposed buildings base height from 85 to 124 feet (front setback from 20 to 10 feet, rear setback from 20 to 24 feet) and change the requirement for a sky exposure plane the height at which a building begins to be angled for light and air.

    PLAYGROUND VS. PARKING: RUMOR OR REALITY? Before Compton introduced Kashanian, he stated that in addition to the 158 units, a new playground would be created. It is unfortunate that the rumor got started that the project was going to displace park-ing and in order to make up for it, was going to take over a playground, asserted Compton. That was never the plan. It was not in any of the papers at all.

    CB4 Weighs In On New Housing Development At FultonContinued from page 1

    Continued on page 22

    Photo by Scott Stif er

    Artimus Construction plans to build 150 units of affordable housing, on the north side of West 18th Street (near 10th Ave.).

  • 4 August 28 - September 11, 2013

    Planning Commission (CPC), CB4 weighs in then the borough president has 30 days to respond, and the CPC, 60 days after that at which point, it goes before the City Council, whose final vote is subject only to a rarely invoked mayoral override.

    Everyone we spoke with voiced support for reforming the process. Candidates dif-fered, however, in the extent to which theyd grant something more than advi-sory power to community boards and the borough president. Our discussions often touched upon embedding commu-nity benefits such as schools and afford-able housing into the ULURP process. The b